President Barack Obama said in a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday that he received an "extraordinary letter" from Saeed Abedini, the Christian pastor who has been detained in Iran since 2012, that praised America and religious freedom.
"I was recently in Idaho and had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Abedini’s beautiful wife and wonderful children and convey to them that our country has not forgotten brother Saeed and we are doing everything we can to bring him home," Obama told the crowd at the annual event.
"Then I received an extraordinary letter from Pastor Abedini," Obama continued. "In it he describe’s his captivity. He expressed his gratitude for my visit with his family and thanked us all for standing in solidarity with him during his captivity."
Obama then read from the Abedini letter: "Nothing is more valuable to the body of Christ than to see that the Lord is in control and moves ahead of countries and leadership through united prayer."
The president said that the pastor closed the letter saying he is a "prisoner for Christ who is proud to be part of this great nation, the United States of America that cares for religious freedom around the world."
"We are going to keep up this work of Pastor Abedini and all those around the world who are unjustly held or persecuted because of their faith," Obama said.
Obama went on to speak about religious freedom and how faith can sometimes be distorted during his remarks, proclaiming that "no god condones terror."
"We are summoned to push back against those who would distort our religion for their nihilistic ends," he said, speaking specifically about the Islamic State, among other militant groups.